Many dog owners have misconceptions about many things when it comes to their dogs. Most are due to beliefs that have been taught and passed down for years. Below are 10 of the most common misconceptions dog owners have today.
1) The ideal age to adopt a puppy is 8 weeks
Actually experts agree that it is best to allow the puppy to stay with their mother until they are 12 to 14 weeks of age. Studies have shown that a puppy left with the mother for this longer period of time, are more temperamentally stable, as well as better able to fight off common diseases like parvo, distemper and others.
2) Dogs must have annually booster shots
Many qualified experts (including my vet) believe that giving adult dogs booster shots for the common K-9 diseases, each and every year, can actually do more harm than good. It is believed that by over vaccinating adult dogs, can actually weaken their natural defenses to these diseases. My own vet recommends every two years. Remember though, this is for adult dogs, puppies should still receive their normal shot series.
3) Homemade dog food is always better than commercial
Homemade dog foods can be very healthy for your dogs when made properly. This does not mean that it is always better than commercial brands. Just like homemade dog foods, commercial ones must contain the proper ingredients. Commercial foods need to contain actual meat and vegetables. Many only contain meal and byproducts. So remember that commercial foods are just fine, IF the ingredients include real meat and vegetables.
4) The hard beef bones are safe for dogs
Many believe that harder beef knuckle bones are safe for their dog because they do not splinter easily. This is not the case at all. Yes, it's true that they do not easily splinter, that does not mean they are necessarily safe. Your dog can still chip off pieces of the bone. These can cut or puncture the dogs stomach or intestinal wall.
5) Rawhide Chews are 100% safe
Rawhide is safer than actual animal bones but there are still reports of problems with them. If your dog should swallow a very large piece of the rawhide, it could cause an intestinal blockage. You should exercise supervision.
6) My dog getting in the litter box is annoying
If you also have a cat and your dog gets into the litter box, it is much more than annoying, it can be deadly. If your dog swallows litter, especially clumping litter, it could cause a life threatening blockage. Do everything you can to keep your beloved dog out of the litter box!
7) Being out in the yard is plenty of exercise
Many dog owners think that simply letting their dog out in the yard is exercise enough. The fact is that they could not be more wrong. Dogs need vigorous exercise to stay fit. They need a daily game of fetch, or a hard run of some kind. Without it they may become overweight, develop diabetes or other weight related problems.
8) All dogs have fleas
Many people believe that all dogs have fleas all the time. This is not true. Puppies are not born with fleas, they have to acquire an infestation from somewhere. Just like a house may develop a pest problem, it certainly was not built with a pest problem. Depending on the dogs environment, the contact it has with other dogs or areas dogs frequent, a dog may go through it's entire life without fleas.
9) You can not teach an old dog a new trick
This one really makes me chuckle. It actually imposes that a dogs mind stops learning once they achieve adulthood. Personally I can not understand how this misconception even started. Dogs learn new things through their own lives. An adult dog is actually easier to train than a young one, due to the fact that they are not as easily distracted as a puppy.
10) My dog would never hurt a fly
This is not just a popular misconception, it's a dangerous one as well. Even the friendliest dog in the world is capable of biting under the right circumstances. Dogs have emotions and moods much the same as people. They may absolutely love to romp and play with the neighbors children most of the time. There could be a time though, when the dog feels ill or is just in a bad mood. It's always best to pay attention to your dog, even if you believe it would never bite. If children or others are around and the dog acts like it wants to be left alone, you should intervene just to be on the safe side.
While some misconceptions you may have are harmless, others can have very serious consequences for your dog. You should never go on assumptions alone, always seek out the advice of your veterinarian or other qualified professionals.